Friday, January 27, 2012

Yup....More Marbling

Nationally known fiber artist - Laura Sims was originally the instructor of this workshop. Due to health reasons, she had to pull out but was able to come and spend an afternoon with us.  She was donned with a "tiara" and gave us the "wave".  She is one of the most talented artists and fabric marblers I know - watching her is magical;  we were thrilled to have a little part of her if only for a short time.
 One of her tricks is the size whisk she uses for distributing paint.  This whisk is actually for cleaning woks and can be found in kitchen shops; it's huge and so much fun to use.
 One of the marbling techniques Laura is know for is her Italian Veining which looks beautiful on the surface.
 Another technique which she developed is the "2 eyedropper" distribution of paint.  She has both eyedroppers going at one time using different color paints. A base color is dropped first.  As the 2 colors merge together, they squeeze the base color into tiny veins.
 So your piece looks like this -it was fascinating to watch.
 Another technique Laura developed is to use an eyedropper to "draw" on the surface of the methyl. It spreads and moves so you can make a picture of sorts.  It's best to do on clean methyl with a white tray so you can see what you're doing.
 It was very unique looking when finished.
 Here are some of my attempts at the techniques Laura showed us.
 One of the nice things about marbling is that you can overmarble without re-alumming the fabric - just let it dry and marble again. The piece below was not terrific, so I decided to overmarble it, used Photo-Flow to open up areas and allow original design to show through. It was a save.  There were some pieces that were beyond saving, we kept saying "you can't beat a dead horse" and so they became our "dead horses".
 This one below was almost a dead horse, so I made a stones pattern and used Photo-Flow to open up areas - interesting but bold.
 The last morning of the workshop, I was doing lots of veining patterns as they went fast and I was determined to use up the alummed fabric.
 These kind of prints are nice for doing silk screens on or running through the ink jet printer.
Such a great week - thank you Karen and Laura for your wonderful expertise and guidance.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Marbling and Dyeing Pt. 2

To continue with our Marbling and Dyeing week, on tuesday, we were ready to dive right in with marbling We used fabrics we brought as well as the ones we dyed.  Marbling involves laying paint on a clear thickened solution, using rakes and stylus's to make a pattern and then lowering the fabric so it touches the surface and picks up the paint.  The paint connects to the fabric permanently and instantly because of the alum in the fabric - it's also instant gratification. Below, Karen is getting ready to demonstrate on a sparkling new tray of methyl.  The first prints are always so exciting with clean methyl as the methyl does tend to get murky quickly.
 Karen is going to do the Spanish Wave - a pattern which is difficult to master and one of the reasons I signed up for this class. It's a really beautiful pattern and one I've wanted to learn for some time.
 And a perfect wave.
 Karen uses this pattern a lot in her work, truly she has mastered it!
 One of my favorite pieces that she has created is a Spanish Wave with a hand drawing of a baby in the wave - can you see it below.  She has even done some for babies in her family, how personal and wonderful is that!

 Here is a detail of the baby.
 Karen will take several pieces of marbled fabric and incorporate them into one piece.
 There were only 5 in the class, how lucky for us to have all that space and attention from Karen!
 I did a lot of Spanish Waves and was happy to learn the technique. As you can see, I'm far from mastering it but I know it will take some practice.

I've done a lot of marbling; my second book was on marbling, but strictly the traditional patterns which I've always liked doing. This week was an eye opener for me. I learned so many different ways to marble and am excited to see what I'll do with the fabric.
More to follow.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Marbling and Dyeing at JCC

I had a wonderful week dyeing and marbling at John C Campbell Folk School.  We were in Keith Hall in the basement which is a big space with good light and windows.  The first day we dyed 57 different colors using complicated formulas.  I had the presence of mind to rip off a long swatch of each piece; I  labeled each in case I want to duplicate it; I usually get caught up in the moment and don't think that far ahead. 
 We made some great fabric to marble on top of, some were too pretty to cover.  We dyed a large color range. As I look on the stacks of fabric at each person's table, it's hard to believe we did it all in one day!
 I was one very tired puppy at the end of day one!
 The next step was to alum the fabric for marbling.  The process involves soaking the fabric in an alum solution and allowing it to drip dry.  Since it was so cold out, we couldn't hang outside and our hanging lines inside were in cold places. It was taking way too long for the fabric to dry.  I brought some line back to my room and hung it from the curtain rod and placed old towels I brought underneath
 to a hook behind the bathroom door.....
and put up additional slats for hanging in the shower.  I couldn't take a shower until my fabrics were dry - but I do have my priorities!
Stayed tuned for day 2 - and let the marbling games begin!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Lake Santeetlah

I'm at my friend Karens home in Lake Santeetlah; we're getting ready to go to JC Campbell for the marbling workshop which Karen is teaching. I'm going to assist and that's very exciting for me, Karen is so wonderful at what she does - I'm looking forward to learning the interesting and intricate techniques she'll be covering.  I've been a fabric marbler for over 20 years but there's so much to it. 
Well, first things first, I'm enjoying my stay at Karens. She comes from a long line of artists and everywhere you look, there's some piece of beautiful artwork from handmade rugs, to pottery to this wonderful mosaic table below.  This was made by Karen's mother - Jean Reese.  She used broken pottery and dishes. 
The broken dishes had a garden theme, some of the plates had seed packet printing on them. Other dishes had pictures of vegetables on them. Combined, they worked into an interesting look.
Jean did a beautiful job on designing the table, her use of color and placement.
 This wonderful birdbath outside - also done in mosaics.
 This is a sundial salvaged from a fire from many years ago just tucked into a big rock.
 There's a fabulous "bottle" garden along the edge of the lake.
Some of the bottles are violins
 and green cars.
 But the best part - the VERY BEST PART - is the view out the big windows as you walk in the house.  It takes your breath away.
 And waking up to this in the morning...
 and the beautiful winter trees.
It is so beautiful and peaceful here, don't think I want to leave. Karen thinks she's getting me to leave tomorrow - HA! I'll be kicking and screaming.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Return to Mousetown

I've been going to JCCampbell Folk School for many years - both as an instructor and as a student and I've never heard of "Mouse Town" until my last visit in October.  People were asking "have you been to Mouse Town", or "have you seen it lately"? Quite frankly I was puzzled.  Turns out - Mouse Town is a very special part of the JCC campus that started years ago with a piece of pottery.  Some student decided to plant a piece of pottery in the shape of a mouse on the outside part of a building. What started as a joke,  caught on..... and grew... and grew.....
 People started leaving little artifacts on the wall and ledge.  Signs and little pieces of furniture - perfect for a mouse!
 All classes were represented including the metal workers.
 It's so darn cute and full of interesting things, you could pour over it for hours.
 A paper was started called the Mouse Towne Gazette and has been around for over 10 years.
What started as a joke, turned into something very special on the campus. I hope if you're ever in the area, you'll check it out.  I'll be going to JCC next week to assist with a marbling workshop.  Karen Tunnell, a gifted artist and fabric marbler, will be teaching the workshop. I can hardly wait.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

A Clever Idea

Several posts ago, I shared some pictures of a hand carved Santa given to me by my friends Joe and Dina.  It was carved on an old wooden spool so already had the hole in the middle.  I asked my husband to come up with a way to display it as I wanted to keep it in my studio year round.  My husband has his own little holiday traditions also, one is to save the live Christmas tree until the following year, cut it up and burn the tree trunk on Christmas day.  We didn't have the chance to do that this year as we were out of town so the trunk was still outside waiting to be put to good use!
 And it was - my hubby cut it and drilled a hole in it to hold a dowel. The other end placed in the spool - thought that he was a most clever fella!
 I actually like the idea of these little stands for holding other things....hmmmmm...

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Trees and Magazines

I've been feeling out of touch with my studio lately, no new work to share and realized I have some "semi-new" work I've never posted.  Last year I did a series (still ongoing) on trees.  This is possibly my favorite time of year for trees - no leaves, just the amazing shapes of branches set against gray skies.  I get my best pictures now despite the cold temperatures (17 degrees today), I'm out there snapping away.  This particular piece is my Trees III - Blue. I used a silkscreen of one of my grandmother's recipes so her writing would be part of the quilt; the right side is a tree upside down.
 I did an image transfer of a brick wall and manipulated the color in photoshop before printing it out.  I screened the same trees on top - this time right side up.
 I also screened the dots and "Fleur de Lis" on fabric I had made.
 I found an old piece of Shibori from a workshop years ago (top). The larger piece to the left is deconstructive silk screened fabric, a technique we've been exploring in my Fiber Junkies group.  It's great fun to do but creates a very busy fabric and sometimes hard to incorporate into a quilt. It worked for me this time.

 The middle strip is a screen my friend Val made for me out of a piece of cheesecloth. It gives great texture and a screen I use a lot!

 And the finished piece.
 And to my surprise, this morning a copy of Quilt Life magazine arrived.  I knew I was to be one of the featured artists in the February issue but didn't expect it so soon. Soooo....
 Here is my quilt - Trees III - Blue. It's nice to see in print and they did a nice job on the article.
Hope you get a chance to read it.